Day 4: What are the pros and cons of having a mental illness or your specific illness(es)?
Cons – Well, I have a hard time keeping a job, making friends, enjoying life — my depression and anxiety really inhibit me to do a lot of things. It isn’t fun at all. With anxiety, I really hate going out. I am scared of meeting new people. Then when I do make a friend, I get really overwhelmed if they keep asking me to hang out, so I quite answering their calls or texts – and well, they give up on me, which I don’t blame them for. I get overwhelmed with jobs too – so I feel sick and can’t go in, or I have panic attakcs during them, or I just stop going, or I quit. When I get depressed – nothing makes me happy. I can sleep for days. I can not shower for days. I am not interested in anything. My mania with my bipolar even stinks — spend lots of money, get agitated and frustrated. Nothing good from that. Basically — it just sucks. So nothing good about the mental illness there.
Pros – Hmm that is a hard one to even think about. With bipolar, there is mania. Most people like that. They say they are productive and all that jazz. For me, I hate my mania – nothing good comes out of it. So I cant even list that as a pro. I think I am more empathetic though. I see the world differently than most people. I feel pain. I know what it is like to hurt. I guess I don’t want to say I understand things better, and yet I also do want to say that. When someone is hurting or down, I feel like I really do understand them. I do feel like I see the world completely differently than someone without mental illness – I feel like I have a better perspective. I know that sounds bad and mean and wrong and as if I am better than them — but I feel like I just have a better understanding — or a different understanding I guess.
You have the power to say,
This is not how my story will end.
Depression hurts. Literally.
Not only does it hurt us emotionally and mentally and where it decides to beat us up in our minds —
—- but physically it takes a toll on us. Our bodies ache! Our joints hurt. Our muscles ache. We get tired. It feels like a truck hit us. A bus ran over us.
I remember going to my doctor a few months ago and complaining that my joints were hurting me — not all of them, but my joints in my fingers and my toes, my ankles and my elbows. Specifically my fingers though. At some point her partner had diagnosed me with arthritis and it does run in my family. She looked surprised and looked through the lab work — she said that the doctor had messed up my lab work, ordered the wrong tests, and diagnosed it off the wrong test.
Now I was confused — why the heck was I hurting so bad!!! I was going through an awful bout of depression at the time. She said it might have been the depression, that could definitely cause the pain, but to make sure she would run some labs and get some x-rays.
Off I went for the labs and x-rays. A few days later – bam! I was fine! Nothing was wrong physically via the tests.
It was the depression. I was feeling so bad that my body was literally hurting too. I wasn’t purposefully making myself hurt, but I was feeling so bad emotionally that my body was too.
Depression can come out in so many ways. Sometimes, people don’t even realize they are depressed immediately. They know they feel a bit down, but their symptoms mainly appear as the physical aches and pains and fatigue.
At one point, there was even a Cymbalta commercial focused on “Depression Hurts” — a lot of people made fun of it, you can actually find parodies of it on youtube. But it really isn’t funny… it is real – depression does hurt. It hurts more than just mentally, it hurts physically too.
I have been challenged by Izzy to create a “Pros and Cons” list of my dad. Pros” are the things that I am happy for, grateful for, or things that just made me smile. “Cons” are those things that you just want to forget about because they do nothing to help with your anxiety or mood that day.
Sooo Here we go:
- Cleaned up my apartment
- Student Loan Bills in the mail – which I shouldn’t have
- Psychiatrist Bill in the mail – which I shouldn’t have
- Kind of just feeling under the weather
- Was all alone, no one to talk to today
- One panic attack
- Trying to figure out how to pay for Grad school…blah!
- Alive – Living another day, but I missed the sunrise — maybe tomorrow?
- Woke up early (Thanks to a good sleep with Ambien!)
- Had some time to read today
- Listened to the rain and thunder, like every other day in Tampa – actually can’t figure out if this is a pro or con, but today it will be a pro
- Restricted myself from eating absolutely everything today (no I don’t have an eating disorder, but I can eat emotionally when I get bored or sad or manic or whatever the case may me).
- I didn’t go out and spend any money, or even look online on Amazon to spend money – even though they have smile.amazon.com which donates money to my charity (which is actually where I get my cousneling)…. whew.. I spend way too much money on that site with my bipolar. Money I do not have. Everyday I beat that is a day to celebrate.
- I watched my DVR of the Last Comic Standing season finale – sooo funny!! Made me laugh
- Looking forward to starting Grad School in like 2 weeks, but refer to Con number 7.
Ok this is definitely hard! Over time I will get better at.
Anyone else want to take this challenge?
Just take your days, list your pros and cons for the day – that is it! It helps you see what your day was like, the good and the bad. Slowly helps you realize that not everything went bad, you do have good things in your life… even simple things. Izzy has done a better job at conveying that in her blog over the past two days than I did in this though!
One small crack does not mean that you are broken,
it means that you were put to the test and you did not fall
What is a mistake I will never make again?
I won’t ever not ask for help again. I went for years not asking for help. Hiding my depression, hiding my pain. I didn’t want people to think I was weak. I didn’t want people to not love me or care about me. I wanted to be strong and competitive in this world. I wanted to prove I could be somebody.
Depression, Bipolar, BPD, PTSD, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, OCD, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Trauma, Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse, Rape – whatever the mental illness or Trauma/Past is though – it doesn’t mean you are weak. It took me far to long to figure that out.
All I knew was that this world was about getting ahead. That is all that was preached to me in school – you have to do this, you have to do that. Learn this, learn that. Get into the best school, earn the highest grades. Take the ACT, the SAT. Apply, apply, apply. I was miserable, but I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
On top of that, I really didn’t believe I was going to be alive. I really thought I was going to be dead, either by a natural death or by suicide. I didn’t think I was actually going to have to live up to those expectations anyway. So I never asked for help.
Then there was also the little fact that it was brought to people attention that I needed help, and no one seemed to care – so why would I ask for help when no one wanted to help me in the first place when others told them I needed it?
After being miserable for years though, and then seeing what my life has been like with the right medications and proper therapy — I would give so much to go back and get these things earlier in my life. What a difference I think it would have made, how much easier my life would have been.
Even though people don’t always listen when we ask for help. I still will always ask for it. I still will always plead for it. I won’t give up. I will keep asking, I will keep begging, I will keep pleading for the help. If I need help – I will get it – no matter what. Because not asking for help, will just lead to my destruction. I know that now.
Word Press Post A Day – What are some (or one) of the things about which you usually don’t trust your own judgment, and need someone’s else’s confirmation?
Second opinions and getting someone else’s confirmation. What would “so and so tell you about that” or “why would you ask me?” are two common statements and responses I get from people. I either need a second opinion and didn’t know it, oops — or I want a second opinion and I guess I shouldn’t need it?
I need a second opinion on a lot of things I do, but I don’t generally get it. Being bipolar – I can be pretty impulsive when I am manic or depressed. I go on wild spending sprees when manic– which I could definitely have someone around to ask me – “Hey, do you really need that, are you going to have enough money in your bank account if you buy that, in fact how about you just put that down.” When I am depressed, thoughts of suicide swarm my head and for years I would just impulsively do it. Again, having that second opinion – “Is this really what you want, what are the consequences, what if you fail and have a horrible life of pain because of how you did it, or what if you succeed and everyone around you hurts because of it?”
On the important things, I never get second opinions. Then there is this whole thing that comes along with my borderline personality – where I can’t really decide on my identity and my social anxiety and PTSD where I always want to make people happy though. So if someone asks me a question, I am completely indecisive. Maybe this, maybe that —- I don’t know, what do you want, what do you think? It’s up to you. Please give me your opinion! I don’t want to make the decision! I don’t think my decision is the right one.
I think talking things through with others is a good idea. Of course, we should be able to logically think things thought on our own in simple cases, where to eat, what to do for the day etc. Although I even have trouble with that because of my mental health issues, but it is just something I need to work on. But when it comes to bigger issues – not even just related to suicide or manic episodes, but anything that we don’t fully comprehend ourselves or think we logically understand but everyone around us tells us otherwise – they tell us we are doing the wrong thing – perhaps we should sit down and think about, focus on it and get that second opinion from someone, perhaps a third and fourth.
And no, just because the majority of people tell you something, it does not mean it is right for you. For example, if you are fighting cancer and think it is time to stop, you know your body more than anyone else. But, it also helps to get that second opinion.
I wish I would have reached out and talked to people before going out and doing my crazy impulsive behaviors related to my bipolar and I hope I do reach out the next time it happens. So far, I have been good about doing that related to any suicidal thoughts. I hope I can relax on being so indecisive and be more confident in my decisions so I don’t need second opinions on if I picked the right place to eat or go to etc.
We are surrounded by different textures. One of the principle components of mindfulness is to pay attention to things around us, focus on that – not things that worry us such as finances or school. Just to stay in the moment.
I took a trip to Malaysia a few months ago and it is an absolutely beautiful country. When I went, almost no one here knew were it was. After all the publicity about the missing plane, and then the plane being shot down – it seems like everyone knows where it is. Well, now that you all know – you should visit it! It really is a beautiful place.
While I was there, I paid attention to everything. I visited a multitude of places during my month there. While on the beach though, there were all these little crabs! I live in FL so of course I have been to the beach. But for some reason, being on the beach there was just fun. I saw these crabs and they were amazing. Thousands of them! Scurrying around – they created all these cool designs on the ground. They were called bubbling (bubbler) crabs. They make these little sand pellets and they usually form very cool circular shapes. I did not get a picture of one of the designs, but I did get a picture of some of them.
Focusing on all the beauty of the area though took my mind off of any problems going through my mind. Mindfulness is amazing when you actually use it. Of course, they key is using it!